Sunday night marks the 71st Derby della Lanterna to be played in Italy’s top flight. This time around though, the Stadio Luigi Ferrari’s may well be a theatre of solidarity in stark contrast to the usual cauldron of intense and hatred fuelled rivalry between both clubs.
This will be the first time that both, Genoa and Sampdoria have met in the Derby since the tragedy of the Morandi Bridge collapse that took place in August.
The partial collapse of the bridge claimed 43 lives and devastated people all over the Liguria region and beyond. It is sure to be an emotional occasion for all on both sides of the cities footballing divide.
Accidents such as this really do show that there is so many things in life more important than football and both sets of these proud and passionate supporters will look to show their respect inside of the Luigi Ferraris.
And both have shown a massive amount of initiative in the city and within the community itself since this disaster happened. Such as agreeing to pay for the education of the children who have been orphaned as a result.
On the pitch, both clubs have endured somewhat of a struggling start to the season and are separated by only one point heading into this weekend’s game. Sampdoria sit 12th in Serie A, while Genoa lie in 14th. More importantly for both, their poor form has led to them to being only five and six points away from the relegation zone, respectively.
While emotions will be running high in the stands on Sunday and the overwhelming atmosphere may become too much for some, it is important for both clubs to try and take the emotion out of their systems for 90 minutes and get down to business. There is no denying the magnitude of this game due to their respective Serie A positions and both will be looking to really kickstart their campaign with a win over their local rivals.
Genoa have not won a game since the sacking of former coach Davide Ballardini and having replaced him with Ivan Juric for the third time, are still without three points. Having said that, Genoa will be buoyed by the fact that they earned a respectable draw away at Champions Juventus , although that was followed up by tough defeats against with Milan, Inter and Napoli.
Sampdoria may well be a more manageable task for the Rossoblu and could well be an opponent that Juric has been eyeing up as his first three points a number of weeks ago. Marco Giampaolo’s Sampdoria side have shipped four goals in their previous two games and he will be hoping the roars from the Gradinata Sud can provide the catalyst for his team to wake up again. If Giampaolo can begin to get the best out of his crop of players again then they have a real chance of getting there season back on track.
This weekend marks the anniversary of the 25th November 1991 Derby della Lanterna, when a Branco freekick sealed victory for Genoa. While the Gradinata Nord faithful will be hoping for some more of the same type of magic this weekend, their cross city counterparts will be quick in reminding them, that Sampdoria went on to win Scudetto for the first ever time that season.
While Genoa and Sampdoria will no doubt continue to battle it out to prove that they are the best team in the city, this Sunday proves to be a tale of the people of Genoa. Three months on from disaster, the capital of the northwest is sure to rise again in unison this weekend.